A new take on an
old classic

We redesigned KWV’s instantly recognisable logo, bringing the company’s corporate identity boldly into the 21st century, without losing sight of its illustrious past. This is the journey we took…

Our Challenge

Our client, KWV has a respected heritage that dates back to 1918, when a small co-operative of growers grew grapes from South Africa’s oldest earth and became the founders of the South African wine industry. These Proud Pioneers had a vision to improve wine industry standards and quality in South Africa and since those early days, the company has grown into a leading wine and spirits producer in South Africa and a global producer of over 100 products. It is also a consistent winner of multiple international accolades and awards.

Our challenge was to create a contemporary logo for this iconic brand that captured its pioneering spirit, without losing its strong sense of history, and global recognition. The new logo was to bridge the gap between KWV’s heritage and future ambition, its tradition and innovation, its position as a South African national treasure and a global success story.

It also needed to captivate our target market of adults across the globe who appreciate the world of wine and brandy and paradoxically respect both authentic heritage and enterprising progression.

Our Solution

Our solution was a journey that explored several executions, including a representation of the famed Paarl Mountains, and Paarl Rock, elements of KWV’s arresting Cathedral Cellar, and the key to wealth (one of the company’s earliest logos), before coming full circle to the iconic gable of La Concorde, KWV’s home in Paarl.

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From Old to New

The new logo retained the original structure, enabling us to successfully modernise the logo, while ensuring that it was still instantly recognisable to consumers. It included a simplified version of the iconic KWV gable, with the lettering being derived from the existing KWV letterforms – the latter was “cleaned up” by removing the serifs. This lettering complements the geometric characteristics of the gable, while keeping the bottom of the gable open adds a lightness to the logo that works well with the negative spaces of the W. This also creates a symmetrical feel, suggesting that all the shapes point in a central upward direction, while the openness of the gable supports the fact that KWV is always open to new ideas.

As for the wording below the gable, what better than to replace the original “Established in 1918” with two words that speak to the very heart of the brand: Proud Pioneers.

The KWV Triangle

The geometric character of the new logo was created by repeating the shape of a triangle a total of 12 times in the positive and negative spaces of the logo (as indicated by the pink lines). Connecting the triangular shape of the gable with that of the lettering gives the logo a strong sense of balance, while the sharp edges of the letters complement the shape of the gable.

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The Beginning of it All

In 2012, KWV initiated a project that would result in its greater art portfolio being consolidated in a single venue. The result was the KWV Sensorium – a unique space where visitors are able to view KWV’s magnificent collection of modern South African art, while tasting some of the South African wine legend’s award-winning wines and brandies. These are creatively matched to the unique character of each artwork. Our invitation to design the logo and catalogue for this incredible art and wine pairing experience, ultimately became the trigger for the redesign of the KWV logo itself.